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February 1, 2013

Attention: Uncle Sam Wants You

Harry M. Covert

Lots of witticisms, jokes and uncouth remarks can be made about allowing women in combat. Some people might think it’s another giant step in bringing about equality of the sexes. I’m not so sure.


If the time ever comes when a draft is re-instituted, I would hope drafting women into the military services not be included.


Even though thinking of the past includes such statements that women “are the weaker sex,” I’ve never believed that. Because a woman may not match men’s military standards for push-ups or pull-ups, they are known to be to mighty good shots with handguns, automatic rifles and/or knife throwing.


I asked several women what they thought of female soldiers on the battlefield.


“Why not?” one said. “But I wouldn’t want to.” Each asked the difference between guarding prisoners of war or inmates in jail-corrections-penitentiary situations?


We can come up with all sorts of traditional reasons to keep women from the battlefields. But the argument sort of loses traction as military life appeals to more and more girls these days.


Some of the best women soldiers I’ve known made the best police officers, deputy sheriffs, bail bondswomen, bounty hunters and judges. They’re all business, not fearful and not timid when it comes to “grabbing problems by the throat.” They can turn-on and turn-off emotions quickly. When the male enemy thinks he’s got the upper hand, what a mistake he’s made.


A bondswoman told me this story. Her “bondee” asked what would happen if he ran. The bondsperson then asked if he could run fast.


“I’m fast, real fast,” he said.


Well, Miss Agent replied, “can you outrun a .38-Smith & Wesson.”


Conversation over and no bail jumper.


Women in combat is not new. Americans, British and French took advantage of women in World War II.


Ken Follett’s novel Jackdaws talks about the all-female agents/fighters who parachuted into France to help defeat the Nazis. Mr. Follett’s book was based on fact.


Within the past few years, numerous British SOE (Special Operations Executive) women, in their late 80s and 90s, broke silence of their efforts and received high medals for their daredevil service. All had kept mum about their activities.


Locally, several women agents of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), held military ranks assigned to the OSS. They were excellent soldiers and kept their secrets until late in life.


I don’t want anyone to face combat, but I’m glad there are men and women, all patriots, who take the calling. It’s no easy life.


Before any young women, and men, too, enlist in any of the military branches, they should watch news films/videos of the atrocities of war. It’s not pretty; it’s not something to boast about and not something men or women should crave.


Yankee Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said “War is hell.”


Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee said, “It is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it.”


General-President Dwight Eisenhower said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”


For those enamored by the battlefield, another requirement should be a visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. Heroes.!


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